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What you need to know before the open

Today's top story: House of Fraser to sell stake to Ham..

Today's top story: House of Fraser to sell stake to Hamleys owner and close stores

Today's leader: Seize the chance for radical housing reform

European shares are expected to track their US and Asian counterparts when stock markets open this morning.

Analysts are calling the FTSE 100 down 0.28 per cent to 7,522. Germany's Dax is expected to fall 0.21 per cent to 12,776 and France's Cac is seen 0.31 per cent lower at 5,512 by brokers at IG.

With Japanese trading desks shut for a holiday, the MSCI Asia-Pacific excluding Japan fell 0.5 per cent. This followed a Wall Street wobble of 0.7 per cent.

US inflation figures and central bankers' reaction indicated the country is on track to raise interest rates in June.

“The [US Fed policy] statement carried only modest changes in wording, but they were meaningful nonetheless, highlighting that the Fed is optimistic on the outlook and intent on continuing to raise rates at a gradual pace,” said Westpac analyst Elliot Clarke.

This morning's expected slippage in European stock markets comes after Britain's wider all-share index closed above 4,150 yesterday – a peak last climbed in January.

Corporate news

  • Cambridge Analytica – investigators have promised to plough on with probes despite the firm folding last night
  • Sprint – outgoing CEO is expecting scepticism over its tie-up with T-Mobile
  • Espirit – retailer to close loss-making operations in Australia and New Zealand
  • Spotify – shares dived nine per cent as first-quarter trading missed expectations


  • 9.30 – UK services PMI (April)
  • 10.00 – Eurozone consumer price index (April)
  • 13.00 – US trade balance (March)
  • 15:00 – US ISM non-manufacturing figures

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